Dental Coalition Sends Letter to Congress in Support of Oral Health Literacy Legislation

  • by AGD Washington Advocacy Representative
  • Nov 3, 2021
In an effort spearheaded by AGD, the Organized Dentistry Coalition (ODC) recently sent a letter to the leaders of the House Energy and Commerce Committee and its respective Health Subcommittee in support of the Oral Health Literacy and Awareness Act (H.R.4555). The letter was delivered ahead of the Health Subcommittee's October 20 hearing on "Enhancing Public Health: Legislation to Protect Children And Families", during which the AGD's President, Dr. Bruce Cassis, DDS, MAGD, testified on the subject of oral health literacy and in support of the H.R.4555.

The House Energy and Commerce’s Health Subcommitee announced that on November 4, it would be holding a markup session to consider several bills, including the Oral Health Literacy and Awarness Act.

H.R.4555 was introduced in July of this year by Representatives Tony Cárdenas (D-CA) and Gus Bilirakis (R-FL). H.R.4555 amends the Public Health Service Act to direct the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) to increase oral health literacy and awareness in specific at-risk populations through a multi-year public health education campaign. Through the campaign, HRSA will develop and implement evidence-based oral health literacy strategies that will be measured based on effectiveness and outcomes.

During the recent hearing on H.R.4555, Representative Cárdenas (D-CA) submitted the Coalition's letter of support for inclusion in the official hearing record. AGD and our allies are hopeful that the Committee will approve the bill during the markup session, allowing the bill to move to the House floor for a vote by the full chamber.

Impact on General Dentistry: AGD appreciates the support of our allies in the dental community in advancing this critical piece of legislation to improve oral health literacy in our country. AGD is also grateful that the House Energy and Commerce Committee is committed to working on this issue and has taken steps to advance H.R4555. Oral health literacy is one of AGD's key issues and was a priority during AGD's 2021 Virtual Hill Day event. AGD believes the enactment of H.R.4555 will positively contribute to more individuals seeking and obtaining regular dental care.